avoid well system freeze-up

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by Mauri, Nov 22, 2010.

  1. Mauri

    Mauri New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    The original well system I installed at my cabin included pressure tank with bladder,check valve at tank with manual air valve tapped into pump side, pitless adaptor at 2 feet below gound on solid rock, submersible pump with no check valve. After winter weekend use I would drain the tank and inside lines and then open the manual air line and the pump line would drain back to the pump. This worked great.
    Recently I replace the old worn-out pump with a new pump with a built in check valve. I also added a brass orifice bleeder below the frost line at 5 feet below ground level for pipe drainage. However, now when I shut down the system as before and open the manual air valve instead of air being sucked into the pipe nothing happens.......the pipe doesn't drain. The air valve is not blocked, the ball in the bleeder orifice moves freely, the elevation from bleeder valve to tank is only 9 feet horizontal distance from well to tank is 15 feet, and the pipe from tank to pitless adapter slopes down hill.........it worked with the original system. I guess that I can remove the check valve in the pump and cap the orifice bleeder but I would still like to figure out why the present system won't drain. I welcome all suggestions.
  2. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Perhaps a rubber bleeder valve is needed. They are always open a bit, leaking when operating, and thus must allow your water to drain down when you open the valve on the pump side.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2010
  3. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,458
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Sounds like you need a spring loaded bleeder orifice. They make one that takes 10 PSI or 23' of head to close it.
  4. Mauri

    Mauri New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    Thanks for your reply, Valveman, can you or anyone else elaborate a little more on how a spring loaded bleeder orifice works and also why my set-up isn't functioning the way I expected? Thanks
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2010
  5. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    A small amount of head can keep the ball closed. Spring loading the ball makes it open. But I like the rubber valves because they are simple and sure to drain. Some guys used to just drill a small hole in the pipe.

    http://www.watertanks.com/forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=429

    Here is a guy with your exact problem. I would go for the rubber bleeder - they do not get stuck closed. Essentially like a spring loaded ball type but simpler and very reliable

    http://www.wellpro.com/catalog/TankAccessories.pdf

    picture of the flapper type rubber valve next to the brass ball type thats not correct for your situation apparently.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2010
  6. Mauri

    Mauri New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    Thanks, Ballvalve, for that link. It certainly reads like my problem. As I understand it, in my set-up when then pump is turned off, there is still enough pressure in the drop line to keep the brass ball sealed against the bleeder orifice. The brass ball in my bleeder is only 3/8 in. not 3/4 in. so I assume it is even less likely to roll back to open the orifice. And opening the small air valve on the check valve by the bladdered pressure tank requires that the bleeder orifice be open before the vacuum can be broken and drainage can begin. (Thus it is not the action of opening the air valve that causes the bleeder orifice to open. The bleeder opens only if the pressure drops enough to allow it to open. Drainage doesn't happen until the vacuum is broken by opening the small air valve in my set-up to allow air to replace water in the drop pipe) I hope I got this right. I think what you are suggesting is that the rubber bleeder flap will spring open as soon as the pump shuts off and the drop line pressure drops.
    I will try the rubber bleeder, that's simple enough for me to replace, I have a new very light Grundfos pump that's easy to pull. Should the bleeder flap be pointing in any particular direction?
    Is there any advantage to be gained by removing the check valve at the tank and breaking the vacuum with one of the faucet inside the cabin after draining the tank and inside lines. Remember the pump has a check valve.
    The nights are below freezing already so I'll have to address this problem very soon. I should be able to report back early next week on how things played out.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2010
  7. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    The rubber bleeder are never totally closed, have a small bump molded in the flapper, which also keeps them clean.

    A quick way to get a air inlet on a pipe is to install a small saddle valve. That way you are not messing with your difficult connections, unless you have good unions all around the valves that you could crack open part way.
  8. Mauri

    Mauri New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    Thanks Ballvalve, the check valve at the tank has an air inlet....but if I decide to remove the check valve then a small saddle valve would be a good idea.
  9. Mauri

    Mauri New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    This weekend I replaced the brass ball bleeder orifice with the rubber flapper orifice. When I opened the little air valve (tapped into the check valve) at the tank the drop line drained easily through the rubber orifice. However when the pump is running the water squirts out of the orifice with a very power force and stops when the pump shuts off. Thus the tank takes much longer to fill also. So the rubber orifice is not the solution.
    I re-installed the brass ball orifice and as I mentioned before it doesn't leak water at all when the pump is running but the ball doesn't release to allow drainage when the pump shuts off and the air valve is opened to break the vacuum. At this point I tapped the orifice with a pole and the orifice started to drain, obviously the ball rolled back opening the orifice. This is also not a good solution because I have to remove the casing cap every winter week to tap the valve to start drainage.
    My next step is to try the spring loaded bleeder orifice, like Valveman suggested. However the well equipment shops here don't carry them and don't know where to get them. I can't find anything on the web either. I guess that I can assume my brass ball bleeder is flawed and try another one ..........but it's hard to imagine since the design is simple. I welcome all suggestions and advice.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2010
  10. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,458
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    You can install another brass bleeder at about 4.5' down in elevation. This will open and take some of the pressure off the lower bleeder so it can open. Or you can call me and I will help you find a spring loaded bleeder.
    Cary
    800-652-0207
  11. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    I neglected to mention [because I use them on the surface] that I often whittle or file the "bump" down to adjust the amount of leak while running. Dont give up yet.

    Some of the Manufacturers have poor molds and that leaker bump varies in height. I have almost taken them off entirely, get just a dribble on run time, and still a good drain down. You can test your adjustment on the surface by hooking it up to a garden hose.

    But what looks like a big leak probably isnt much in reality.

    http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/CDI-CONTROL-DEVICES-Compact-Check-Valve-6D917?BaseItem=6D914

    That might work if you have room, or do BOTH for redundency.

    Also sprinkler systems have many drain down valves, but check the pressure rating.

    http://www.hardwareandtools.com/Orbit-Irrigation-51041-3-4-Inch-Plastic-Drain-Valve-u874654.html
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2010
  12. Mauri

    Mauri New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    Valveman, thanks the info and suggestions, I'll try some out this coming weekend. My well has a lot of iron, will it affect a spring loaded bleeder?
  13. Mauri

    Mauri New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    Ballvalve, I did cut off the little bump entirely on my rubber bleeder but it made not difference. As long as the pump was running the bleeder was spraying big time .....cleaning the rust etc. off the casing wall. Otherwise it worked fine......when the pump shut off it didn't leak at all and when the manual air valve was open for drainage it released a nice gentle stream. I don't know the make but the part number is BOR4100 Bleeder Orifice 1" Rubber and cost $2.00.
  14. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Do you have a link to the spring loaded bleeder?

    The rubber valves I have leak perhaps a few cups of water only on a typical tank fill, most at the start up, then just a small drip or tiny stream. Never a pressurized stream. Maybe you have a bad one.
  15. Mauri

    Mauri New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    Thanks, I now have a link to a spring loaded bleeder.
    However, to increase my knowledge base..........I have a couple of questions.
    If I were to remove the check valve at the tank, would the pressure at the bleeder be about the same as the tank pressure gauge reading. Bleeder is about 9 vertical feet from the tank. My tank settings is 20/40 on/off.
    I note that the spring loaded bleeder comes in a 10 psi version and also a 5 psi version. Which would be better in my situation?
  16. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,458
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    9' further down you will have 3.9 PSI more. Which is getting very close to 5 PSI, so I would use the 10 PSI bleeder.
  17. Mauri

    Mauri New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    Therefore with a check valve at the pressure tank, the spring loaded bleeder would be open all the time, except when the pump is running.
    And with no check valve at the pressure tank, the spring loaded bleeder would be closed all the time, except when the vacuum is broken to drain the drop pipe.
    Am I understanding plumbing physics correctly?
  18. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,458
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    That is correct. So you do not want a check valve above ground with a bladder tank.
  19. Mauri

    Mauri New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    Since the bleeder is spring loaded 'open' is the spring not more likely to lose it's 'force' if it is pressured 'closed' (under stress) all the time when the system is in operation?
  20. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,458
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    If it does, then it is not a good spring. It should still pop open 10 years from now, when the pressure gets below 10 PSI.
Similar Threads: avoid system
Forum Title Date
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog Winterizing ideas to avoid freezing Sep 24, 2013
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog Avoiding a frozen well and well pump Feb 5, 2007
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog Can a standpipe be installed on a 2-pipe jet pump system? Yesterday at 4:30 PM
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog Storage Tank Float Switch Control System Sep 3, 2014
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog what is the best bacteria additive to septic system. Sep 2, 2014

Share This Page